Bob Ford: Triple Crown must change before more horses are sacrificed
Bob Ford writes at Philly.com about the fragility of the thoroughbred and how the Triple Crown is exploiting these animals and pushing them to limits that lead to injuries and death. Ford begins with the story of Giant Ryan, a 6-year-old sprinter who broke down in the True North on the Belmont Stakes undercard. The horse was able to walk into an ambulance and may now undergo surgery. The anatomy of a horse makes it delicate as it’s carrying thousands of pounds on a “suspension system more built for a ballerina.”
Ford writes: “We see it every year in the Triple Crown chase. Horses break down, or they develop physical issues that lead to their retirement. This season, I’ll Have Another won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but was scratched from the Belmont on Friday because the pace of racing and training left him with inflammation in his left foreleg that wouldn’t go away.”
It is too much to ask a 3-year-old, who are “little more than teenagers” in their development to run three hard races in just five weeks. Ford writes it is inhumane to ask for such an effort from such a young horse. He believes a change needs to be made. Either space the races out farther, or make them for 4-year olds. He also believes artificial insemination would keep racehorses on the track longer.
When it comes to the Triple Crown as it is now, Ford writes: “At some point, the sport of horse racing has to make a change. Not because there will never be another Triple Crown winner. Some horse will beat the odds and get it done eventually. But because of all the horses that are sacrificed trying to find that one horse, and all the casual fans who are driven away because the stars of the sport are never more than supernovas that flash quickly and disappear, either into the breeding shed or the track ambulance.”